Molecular characterization of a short neuropeptide F signaling system in the tsetse fly, Glossina morsitans morsitans

Jelle Caers, Katleen Peymen, Matthias B Van Hiel, Liesbeth Van Rompay, Jan Van Den Abbeele, Liliane Schoofs, Isabel Beets

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Neuropeptides of the short neuropeptide F (sNPF) family are widespread among arthropods and found in every sequenced insect genome so far. Functional studies have mainly focused on the regulatory role of sNPF in feeding behavior, although this neuropeptide family has pleiotropic effects including in the control of locomotion, osmotic homeostasis, sleep, learning and memory. Here, we set out to characterize and determine possible roles of sNPF signaling in the haematophagous tsetse fly Glossina morsitans morsitans, a vector of African Trypanosoma parasites causing human and animal African trypanosomiasis. We cloned the G. m. morsitans cDNA sequences of an sNPF-like receptor (Glomo-sNPFR) and precursor protein encoding four Glomo-sNPF neuropeptides. All four Glomo-sNPF peptides concentration-dependently activated Glomo-sNPFR in a cell-based calcium mobilization assay, with EC50 values in the nanomolar range. Gene expression profiles in adult female tsetse flies indicate that the Glomo-sNPF system is mainly restricted to the nervous system. Glomo-snpfr transcripts were also detected in the hindgut of adult females. In contrast to the Drosophila sNPF system, tsetse larvae lack expression of Glomo-snpf and Glomo-snpfr genes. While Glomo-snpf transcript levels are upregulated in pupae, the onset of Glomo-snpfr expression is delayed to adulthood. Expression profiles in adult tissues are similar to those in other insects suggesting that the tsetse sNPF system may have similar functions such as a regulatory role in feeding behavior, together with a possible involvement of sNPFR signaling in osmotic homeostasis. Our molecular data will enable further investigations into the functions of sNPF signaling in tsetse flies.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
    Pages (from-to)142-149
    Number of pages8
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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